Letter from John Orvis to Marianne Dwight Orvis
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- Virginia Faust
New Bedford 2nd mo 5th 1847 Your precious letter came to me last evening just as I was going on to the platform to speak. It is a real comfort to me to hear how heroic you are. I know that you are so, & you would not act worthy of yourself to be childish. So far from being left [-- ---]able in the work of Association, I am more so than ever be- fore and I derive this augmentation of strength from you. My mind is at ease, & given wholly to my business. New energies impell me, & new motives urge me to action. You asked me not long since whether it seemed any different to go out as a husband, from going out [strikethrough] & [/strikethrough] a single man. Yes there is all the difference which I expected there would be & more, & that difference is all the right side. The purpose of all union is to strengthen the members, to greater purposes and and nobler efforts. It gives ambition the warmth & gentleness & refinements of love. It universalizes love and impels it beyond self. Man is an ambitious & restless being in himself. He goes ever abroad after new conquests & new fields of honor and under the dominion of this illusion, becomes selfish tyranni- cal & heartless. Love renders him generous, turns ambition to noble ends & inspires a noble chivalry. Woman is a being of love. Its tendency in her nature, is to centralize all goodness & beauty, & to enshrine the object of her devotion in her own bosom. Her feeling is, let us live in the bowers of [sel?]tered love- withdraw from the world into our own heaven. Ambition [strikethrough] ? [/strikethrough] [page break] wedded with love extends [strikethrough] the [/strikethrough] its sphere. [strikethrough] of the latter [/strikethrough] This is the mystery of true marriage if there be any mys- tery about it. I wish you could spend a day or two here with me. I want you to see some of the folks & I want they should see you. I tell them I am proud of my wife, & am not ashamed to boast of her superiority over all the women I ever saw. This is rather joking. I mean to say that I keep thinking so within myself. Last Monday Mr Allen & myself went to visit the Alms-house in this Town. It is a horrible sight, to behold men & women under the penitence of charity that [use?] in such a place de- prived of all social advantages, & compelled to work, securing nothing but a miserable support for it, [of?] if sick & not able to labor, crowded into apartments where there can be neither comfort nor sympathy. These were some of the most miserable & degraded beings imaginable, inmates of this asylum(?) Men and women, who had worn themselves out in the service of the rich, who had been spo- liated of their industry & virtue were here sent to linger out the remainder of their lives in slavery. They are deprived of all true social existence. The men and women are never allowed each other's society- not so much as to eat together, because they have become so degraded & brutal that such an indulgence would be abused. And yet this is the best poor house that I ever saw. It is built on a spacious plan- the rooms are large and rather nice- the furniture simple, but what there is of it is comfortable- the house is warmed with [page break] steam throughout- Their laundry establishment is the best I ever saw- It is worth visiting as a sort of hint to what may be done in a combined society. I saw poor sail- ors who had just returned from long whaling voyages sick & destitute of comfort, while the cargoes of oil which their ships had brought in were fortunes to the owners of the ships. I could not but feel degraded, almost as low as the poor creatures around me. I would sooner a friend of mind should die than go into even the New Bedford Alms-house. Wednesday night was fearfully tempestuous and we had but a small audience. Mr A occupied the evening in a criticism upon the present form of society. Last evening I spoke about 1 (3/4) hours on the positive side. I made a good speech even if [loss] say it, & it told upon the audience. The audience was not large but it was a good one- I cannot tell what will be the issue yet. Perhaps the immediate re- sults will not be so great as we thought appear- ances at first warranted us to hope for. It is thought that there will be a full audience to-night. Brisbane will be here to speak. You entreat me to come home on Monday. I should like to do so, you know dearest, if all appears right. But you must not expect me, for I think I shall have to go to Fall River. The Union will hardly like to al- low my travelling expenses so many times over. I think I shall be home after visiting Fall River- Allen wants me to go to Providence before returning, but that I cannot think of doing. I shall need a clean ward- robe by then. [page break] Now my dearest I am not willing to hear you hint that yr bravery may possibly give out. It will not. You don't know how much good the kind manner in which spoke of the Editorial business did me- I don't prefer that position to all others. I wish to be in the place where I can do most for the cause. But the conducting of a paper would suit me bet- ter than anything else which now offers. But this laid on the table until I can see the friends at home & the Executive board. I am not enthusiastic as you might possibly suppose I should be. I am rather in- different about because I have no idea our friends will spare me from the field. Love to all dearest Thine own loving John [address] Marianne Dwight Orvis Brook Farm West Roxbury Mass
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